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James Cook
General Information
Nickname(s): Cook, Jimmy, Cookie, Cooko, Bristol's Most Wanted
Gender: Male
Born: 1992
Age: 16-18 (series 3 & 4)
21 (series 7)
Status: Alive (in hiding)
Education: Roundview College (expelled)
Occupation(s): Student (formerly)
Criminal (formerly)
Family: James Cook Sr. (father)
Ruth Byatt (mother)
Paddy Byatt (younger brother)
Keith (uncle)
Dale (possibly cousin)
Romances: Kayleigh White (sexual interest; formerly)
Effy Stonem (ex-girlfriend)
Naomi Campbell (sexual interest; formerly) †
Pandora Moon (friends with benefits; formerly)
Karen McClair (fling)
Arcia (ex-girlfriend)
Emma (girlfriend) †
Charlie (fling)
Friends: Freddie McClair (best friend) †
JJ Jones (best friend; formerly)
Naomi Campbell (former close friend & partner in crime) †
Pandora Moon (formerly)
Katie Fitch (formerly)
Emily Fitch
Thomas Tomone (formerly)
Enemies: Johnny White (formerly)
John T. Foster (attempted killer; victim) †
Louie (former boss)
Series Information
First Appearance: "Everyone" (episode 3.01)
Centric Episode(s): "Cook" (episode 3.02)
"Finale" (episode 3.10)
"Cook" (episode 4.03)
"Rise: Part 1" (Episode 7.05)
"Rise: Part 2" (Episode 7.06)
Last Appearance: "Rise: Part 2" (episode 7.06)
Potrayed by: Jack O'Connell

James Cook Jr., more commonly known as "Cook", is a key character of the series Skins, appearing as the deuteragonist/anti-hero in both series three and series four and the main protagonist/anti-villain in the series finale Skins: Rise.

He was portrayed by Jack O'Connell.


Naomi Campbell, his closest female friend, characterizes him as "living a bit harder than the rest of us." Cook is charismatic, funny and can handle a lot of alcohol and heaven knows what else. He likes to spend time with his best mates - JJ and Freddie. He's outgoing, extremely slovenly and usually in a good mood. He loves to have a good time and is always the life and soul of any party; he is arguably a somewhat darker incarnation of Chris Miles. Cook shows a great interest in the ladies, and is constantly on the lookout for a new shag- partner. However, all his partying can sometimes get out of hand because he does not always know when to stop, and he has an extremely unpredictable temper that frequently leads him into trouble. This may have spawned from him largely being neglected by his unpredictable, ever-drinking and negligent parents, with the result that Cook usually disdains familial relationships, having constantly looked after himself or gotten support from his two best friends. The only member of his family he genuinely cares about is his little brother Paddy; to make sure that Paddy does not take the same unpredictable path he did, Cook is even willing to humble himself enough to go to prison.

"Gotta seize life, do something man, do something that matters. Squeeze the f—k out of every day. Life’s all sewn up, everything’s in its right place, charged, ready." — Cook

However, his friendship with Freddie and JJ starts to deteriorate during Series 3, due to his sexual relationship with Effy Stonem which has driven a wedge between them. While he takes JJ more seriously than Freddie does (a lacking from both of them that angers JJ) JJ frequently takes Freddie's side, since Cook is less rational and has gotten him into trouble many times through his carelessness.

Unlike Freddie, Cook is willing to disregard and even throw away his friendships completely to keep Effy, since he is convinced she is the only good thing that ever happened to him. However, this vulnerability- spawned from being in a split family that cares nothing for him- eventually makes him realize how much his friendships mean to him, and he ends the series with a demonstration of deep loyalty to Freddie's memory.

Character History

Series 3

In "Everyone", Cook, Freddie and JJ vie for Effy's attention, meeting her before college began. Cook flirts with Naomi- which leads to him exposing himself at the assembly- but she disgustedly ignores his attempts. Effy sets Cook and Freddie a challenge, whoever breaks the college rules gets to “know her better”. Cook breaks the rules, in the process starting a fire. His reward is sex with Effy in the nurse’s office.

In "Cook", Cook invites the gang to his uncle Keith's pub to celebrate his seventeenth birthday which he believes will be a drink-fuelled event. The reality is that the gang are still trying to strengthen friendships. The girls decide to leave after Pandora throws up. Cook persuades them otherwise, promising drugs. Freddie gets a call from his sister Karen who is at her friend, Kayleigh’s, engagement party.

Undettered by his lack of invitation, Cook rounds the gang up and they head over. After flirting with Kayleigh, Cook gets hold of drugs from Keith and passes them around. While high, Cook ups the tempo with his antics, angering drug lord Johnny White, Kayleigh’s father. Cook gets beaten up, but White relants after Freddie apologizes for Cook's behavior. The gang leaves, splitting up. Cook then drags JJ to a brothel after an argument with Freddie. There they find Johnny White; as he is strapped down, Cook taunts and injures him. Jonny vows to kill Cook next time he sees him. However, when he does in "Thomas"- having caught the group selling cannabis in one of his clubs- Thomas defeats him in a chili- eating contest, saving Cook and the rest of the group and becoming quite popular. At the end of "Cook", Cook promises Freddie that he will rein in his behavior a bit, as Freddie is tired of rescuing him and Cook does not want to lose his friendship. However, he subsequently disregards this promise on multiple occasions.

In "Pandora", Cook sneaks into Pandora's pajama party with the help of the hapless JJ and ends up ditching him in favor of a quick shag with Effy. They accidentally disover that Pandora's mother is having an affair with the next-door neighbor. Pandora comes out of the bathroom after the party has been crashed by Katie's boyfriend; Cook is the only person left at the house. Together they play Twister, which was all Pandora had wanted to do, along with learning from her friends about sexuality. Cook offers to take her virginity, and they spend the night together. Effy visits Pandora the next morning, and sees Cook share a kiss with her as he leaves. After an argument, Pandora defiantly tells Effy that Cook, due to his promiscuity and impulsive, carnal behavior, belongs to no one. Effy seems to accept this through the rest of series three, maintaining to Naomi that she is not really in a relationship with Cook but only "f**cking him occasionally."

Cook enjoys his time before the college begins ("Everyone")

In "Freddie", Freddie gets tired of living in the shadow of the increasingly reckless Cook, as well as irritated by his semi-relationship with Effy. Cook tries to re-build the bond of the trio- constantly dubbing themselves the "Three Musketeers"- by plotting revenge after Freddie's sister Karen takes over their shed to use as a practice room. However, JJ accidentally reveals that Cook once had sex with her, alienating him further from Freddie. When Cook shows up at the McClair household after the show (having arranged for Karen to lose) Freddie has regained loyalty to his family and is in no mood to celebrate; furthermore, when Cook reveals his dirty trick, Freddie headbutts him in a fit of rage, ending their friendship. Although Freddie reveals his true feelings for Effy, which she reciprocates, she goes back to Cook because she's afraid to love. Freddie watches angrily from the street below as Cook steps behind Effy at the window and smirks at him.

In "Naomi", Naomi, after arguing with Emily, later comes across Cook, who tries to persuade her to have sex with him. She tells him that he has a better chance of winning the student elections, which he sees as a challenge and decides to register- to the shock of Doug and the other cantidates. Naomi launches her own campaign to rival Cook, but finds that most of her classmates' support is for Cook's anarchist ideas; she is the only one who takes the election seriously. She is doubly humiliated in front of the school when Cook ridicules her and Emily subsequently stands up for her, causing him to mock Emily's increasingly obvious feelings for Naomi.

Naomi later witnesses her teachers' rigging the votes to prevent Cook from winning, and reveals this to the forum after she is announced the winner of the elections. As his first presidential act, Cook starts a riot, correctly assuming that Harriet woul rather deny the whole thing than expell him. In the ensuing chaos, Naomi forgives Kieran (their politics teacher, with whom she was having a row) and tries to have sex with Cook before she realises that it "isn't right". In contrast to his earlier cruelty, Cook is very understanding and respectful of her feelings on this, and she acknowledges that he is not as nasty as he seems. She leaves, with her and Cook sharing a better understanding of each other.

In "JJ", JJ sees his mother, Cecilia, overwhelmed by all of his issues and blames himself. He calls Cook to tell him how he feels, but Cook is preoccupied with having sex with a girl who JJ assumes is Effy. When he visits Effy, however, she reveals that she has not seen Cook in days. He asks her to leave Freddie and Cook alone; she refuses but offers to be his friend. JJ then visits Cook and discovers that he is having sex with Pandora.

Pretending not to have seen this, he then confronts Cook about ruining their friendship with Freddie and that he needs to care about JJ more. Cook tells JJ that he loves him and brings JJ with him to buy drugs. They are almost arrested and, after running from the police, JJ pressures Cook into taking his prescription drugs instead before they meet their friends at a club. JJ and Cook arrive and Thomas Tomone lets them into the club. After dancing with Emily, Cook gets into a fight on the dancefloor and Freddie moves in to help when he discovers that JJ gave Cook his prescription drugs.

Cook and Effy are trying to solve their relationship ("Finale")

Cook, under the influence of JJ's drugs, is compelled to tell the truth and confesses that Effy loves Freddie. Cook says that he loves Effy, but knows his feelings are not reciprocated and that is why he is having an affair with Pandora. Thomas is visibly enraged by this (he and Panda having planned to lose their virginity together) and nearly attacks the helpless Cook, but Freddie stops him.

In "Effy", Effy abruptly breaks up with Cook without his knowledge and joins the others on Katie's camping trip- from which he was excluded. Feeling increasingly rejected- even JJ is now avoiding him- but too proud to show it, Cook crashes the trip, and in anger reveals many of the group's secrets, including that Pandora and he have continued their affair. However, the group, led by the efforts of Effy and Freddie, force him away. After Effy is ousted from the group, he decides to take her on a road trip, to get away from it all. Despite her earlier rejection of him, she does not leave.

In "Finale", Cook and Effy are in self-imposed exile from the gang; they've gone to stay with Cook's father, whom Cook seems to idolize despite his worthlessness. Effy becomes increasingly concerned when she sees how Cook, Sr. manipulates his son into joining him on worthless and demeaning bets, and she calls Freddie for help, telling him she loves him. Freddie eventually arrives with JJ in attempt to bring them back, but Cook angrily assumes Freddie is only there for Effy and challenges him to the local race as a means to decide who gets her; he has become increasingly possessive and paranoid about both Effy and his father, whom he had supported on another wager relating to the race. While he manages to elbow Freddie into dropping his jockey, JJ unexpectedly wins the race and decides to settle the triangle once and for all. However, when JJ pressure Effy to make a choice between the three men, her gaze lingers on Freddie, causing Cook to leave in a fit of rage. JJ tries to recall him, but Cook- who is rapidly getting drunk- declares, "I'm gonna say sorry to me dad, an' then life begins!"

Unfortunately, for all that Cook admired his father, Cook Sr. cared nothing for his son and was furious with him for losing a wager attatched to the race; as his boat was the prize, he began preparing to motor off before the bartender came to claim it. When Cook arrives and asks to come with him, his father berates him for coming back when he didn't even want him there and refuses to let him aboard. Stunned and extremely hurt by this final rejection, Cook removes the keys to the boat and, in increasing tears, refuses to return them. Cook Sr. demands them several times before threatening to burn his face off with a signal flare; Cook makes no attempt to move away until Freddie suddenly knocks his father out. They have an awkward discussion in the cabin; Cook desperately wants his friendship back with Freddie, as he has nothing else left, but Freddie- though wanting to- is not sure if it will ever be the same, as Cook has not said he will stay away from Effy, since he still loves her. After Cook defiantly pushes his father into the harbor, the four friends sail for Bristol; Freddie and Cook remain in an awkward truce.

Series 4

In "Thomas", The gang, excluding Effy, witness the suicide of a teenage girl, Sophia, after she had taken drugs. The police launch an investigation into the death. Thomas feels guilty about Sophia’s death and suspects Cook sold her the drugs before her death; this is reinforced when he notices Cook leaving the investigation line and later finds him pouring powder down the toilet. Whil Cook initially tries to be friendly, Thomas's hostility for Cook's old affair with Pandora is still strong; when Cook makes mocking remarks on Thomas' relationship with her, he is attacked and nearly beaten up until Freddie stops the fight. Thomas turns to religion and becomes attracted to the daughter of his church’s pastor, Andrea, and eventually sleeps with her. At school, Thomas is expelled and admits to cheating on Pandora, who storms off. Depressed, Thomas gets drunk and beats up Cook until Naomi intervenes. In "Emily", Emily learns that Naomi was dealing powder with Cook the night of the suicide and sold some to Sophia to pay for the motorbike goggles she bought her. She confronts Cook about having given the police their names, but Cook insists he never did and in fact nicked one of the cops' briefcases. He suggests that they simply keep their heads down. When he sees Emily later at a party, he gives her advice on how to deal with her jealousy and suggests they have a dance. However, as they are leaving the bathroom Cook sees Effy and Freddie kissing and takes his anger out on a fellow party-goer; when JJ attempts to stop him, Cook headbutts him, continuing to vent his rage until someone finally knocks him out.

In "Cook", Cook has been arrested, charged with GBH for putting Shanky Jenkins in the hospital. Duncan, Cook’s cheap lawyer, advises him to plead guilty, but Cook stubbornly refuses to show remorse, and pleads not guilty. He is released from prison with an electronic tag and sent to live with his mother, Ruth, a famous artist. At home, Cook bonds with his younger brother Paddy who adores him, but clashes with his vain and perpetually drunken mother. Like Thomas, Cook is expelled for his association with the Sophia affair. He sees Paddy off to school, warning off the bullies who pick on his brother. Later, he visits Naomi who informs him they must deal with their guilt over Sophia, but Cook is still deep in denial. Afterwards Duncan tells Cook there is no case and that he should grow up. Cook tells him he is a shit lawyer and that he has been provoked by various people which led up to this. He tries to apologize to Shanky, but Shanky insults him.

Cook visits his mother’s art exhibit and is shocked to learn that she had slept with Freddie. Freddie admits Ruth gave him a blow job at Cook’s 15th birthday party and pleads for Cook to stop acting out. While Cook refuses to control his behavior, he recognizes Freddie's remorse and concern, and forgives him. Cook argues with his mother, leaves the house with Paddy in Ruth’s car, and they trash it. However, Cook has a moment of insight when he sees his brother acting like him after having some spliff. He finds Naomi and, after putting his brother to bed, has a heart-to-heart with her, bonding over how they both love someone. Later, he meets with Duncan and they discuss why events occured as they did. He tells the police he sold Sophia the MDMA, taking the flak for Naomi. Effy visits Cook in prison and tells him she loves Freddie, but that she has always admired his bravery; Cook asks her to send JJ his apology. Cook pleads guilty at trial and is imprisoned; additional charges have been added for his behavior and the Sophia affair, but the sentence is lightened by his change of plea. When Paddy protests and insults the police, Cook tells him he has to be a big man for him. As a gesture of loyalty, Effy Freddie and JJ attend his trial.

In "Freddie", After Freddie clears the party out, Cook remains, having escaped from jail prior to the beginning of the episode. However, when seeing him, Effy begins to freak out, yelling at him to leave. Later, Freddie tries to follow a freaked out Effy who ran away from him, but loses sight of her in the large crowd, however he runs into Cook and asks him for help. Cook (who is disguised under devil makeup) quickly helps him find her. After Effy's suicide attempt, when Freddie seems about to lose hope, Cook arrives and tells him he must stay with her- for Effy, for him and for Cook. As Freddie breaks down, Cook embraces him protectively, reaffirming their friendship.

In "JJ" it becomes clear that Cook has been hiding at Freddie's house for some time, until Mr. McClair became suspicious. Freddie therefore smuggled him over to JJ's house, much to the dismay of JJ himself. Cook gives JJ 'shagging tips' for his new relationship with Lara, although this flounders due to his parents' disapproval and Lara's ex- boyfriend Liam. Cook is eventually discovered by JJ's mother and decides he will go to Naomi's; JJ observes that he is running out of places to hide. Cook embraces JJ before leaving, telling him he is made of spunk and not to take any shit from Liam.

Cook and Effy in Series 4

In "Effy", She runs into Cook and after an argument, Cook tells her that he would re-do the last two years all over again, and that he still loves her.

Effy tells him to piss off and leaves. The next morning, she is at a park, and Cook sits on the bench next to her. As they are talking, Cook mentions that Freddie calls him about her (and calls her "Ef"). Effy looks confused, asking who "Ef" is. Cook thinks she's joking, and says that he's mistaken and that she isn't Ef. Effy smiles and tells him that he's right. Looking confused, Cook asks her what her name is, to which she replies "Elizabeth". Cook realizes that she doesn't remember anyone in the gang, so he reintroduces himself as James (his first name).

He takes her to a party, and they talk. Effy mentions that she normally doesn't go on a date with someone she just met. Cook goes along with it, not telling her that they have already met. She then tells him that she wants to do something bad, and Cook replies that she's come to the right person. As they walk down the street, they end up at the street where Tony got hit by a bus. Effy's memory begins to get jogged, and begins remembering. Cook, not understanding that Effy really didn't remember him, tells her that she wins (thinking it was a game). Effy is confused, but Cook tells her that they have met, dated, and had sex. Effy tries to deny it, but Cook brings up things only someone close to her would know.

Effy finally remembers her brother being hit, but she begins to freak out. She doesn't know what's wrong with her, not knowing if things did or didn't happen. Cook slaps her to "wake" her up, and Effy wants him to do it again. After pushing Cook, she runs off, with him chasing her. She runs into the freeway and gets almost hit by a car. Cook saves her and she kisses him. Effy remembers everything and tells Cook to get her to Freddie, which he does. Freddie is overwhelmed, but Cook prods him into staying with her.

In "Everyone", Cook is having sex with an Effy look-a-like 'Arcia', as he kept his indirect promise to Freddie to back off. Freddie meanwhile hasn't been heard of for a week, and everyone thinks he ran away, although Cook was one of the few to look for him. Once he notices that everyone keeps mistaling Arcia for Effy however, he realizes what he is doing and dumps her. Cook is later given Freddie's notepad by Karen, who is convinced that something sinister happened to Freddie; she insists that Cook needs to show that he cares about Freddie. Cook tells her she's got him wrong; she replies "Show me". Once he reads the notebook- which contains variation after variation of "I love her" Cook cries, realizing how much he misses Freddie and how much they both loved Effy. Cook gains only one clue as to what happened- on one page, Freddie wrote in black sharpie "John Foster wants to hurt her." Arcia tips off the police and they raid Naomi's house, but Cook was warned by Pandora and escapes out the upstairs window.

Later, Cook finds Effy at Freddie's shed; when she wonders aloud if she caused Freddie to run away, Cook gives her the notebook. After a party at his shed, Cook see's someone in the shadows, and sees that it is Foster, and stalks him to his house. Cook then breaks in and finds Freddie's blood stained clothes where Dr Foster has been waiting for him with his infamous baseball bat. John then starts calling him a waste of space and hits him to the ground, but Cook gets up and smiles, knowing he's got nothing to live for, attacks John while screaming 'I'M COOOOOOK!'. The credits then start to roll, leaving their fates unknown.  Given that Cook survived and was no longer in prison in Series 7, it is presumed that he murdered Foster and gained justice for Freddie's murder.

Series 7

In "Rise", three years after the events of series four, Cook has moved to Manchester and has become a drug dealer.

There are now notable similarities between him and his father: Cook now wears a very similar outfit to his father's in Series 3 (layered polo under a sheepskin jacket), both have a vehicle as their main social hub, both have the same hair style. Cook has become a lone ranger just like his dad.

When he is asked to help his employer's girlfriend find a house and finds that he is irresistibly attracted to her, he sets off a chain of events which will lead him into a world of savage revenge and a confrontation with his own teenage past. It is strongly implied that Cook murdered John Foster. As the episode goes on, Cook and the ladies are on the run.

They run into his boss who kills his girlfriend and her parents leaving only him, the cheater and the boss. Cook however becomes the bigger man having learned from his past mistakes and spares his employers life.


Romantic Relationships
  • Cook and Pandora Moon - refers to the romantic pairing between James Cook and Pandora Moon, which spanned throughout Series 3, although the pair remained friends in Series 4.
  • Cook and Emma - refers to the romantic pairing between James Cook and Emma, which spanned throughout Series 7.

External Links

  • Cook Series 3 Profile on the official E4 Skins site
  • Cook Series 4 Character Blog on the official E4 Skins site
  • Cook on Myspace